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The Economics of Creative Destruction

New Research on Themes from Aghion and Howitt

Edited by Ufuk Akcigit and John Van Reenen

ISBN 9780674270367

Publication date: 08/22/2023

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A stellar cast of economists examines the roles of creative destruction in addressing today’s most important political and social questions.

Inequality is rising, growth is stagnant while rents accumulate, the environment is suffering, and the COVID-19 pandemic exposed every crack in the systems of global capitalism. How can we restart growth? Can our societies be made fairer? Editors Ufuk Akcigit and John Van Reenen assemble a world-leading group of social scientists and theorists to consider these questions and, in particular, how ideas about the economics of creative destruction may help solve the problems we face.

Most closely associated with Joseph Schumpeter, formalized by Philippe Aghion and Peter Howitt in the 1990s, the idea of innovation as creative destruction has become foundational in economics, reaching into almost every corner of the discipline—both theoretically and empirically. Now, at a time of rapid and disorienting change, is an opportune moment to pull the disparate strands of research together to assess what has been learned and continue an intellectual project that can aid economic decision-making in the decades to come.

The cutting-edge work in The Economics of Creative Destruction focuses on innovation and growth. Contributors offer illuminating insights into monopoly and inequality, the nature of the social safety net, climate change, and the ups and downs of regulation. Collectively, they suggest that governance has a role to play in capitalism, maximizing its benefits and minimizing its risks.


  • Research and development ‘is by nature both creative and destructive’, write economists Ufuk Akcigit and John Van Reenen. Their edited collection is a response to this juxtaposition…Impressive.

    —Andrew Robinson, Nature


  • Ufuk Akcigit is Arnold C. Harberger Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago.
  • John Van Reenen is Ronald Coase School Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Digital Fellow in the Initiative on the Digital Economy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Book Details

  • 784 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press
  • Foreword by Emmanuel Macron